Thursday, 13 August 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate - an International rogue organisation as highly as they are, committed to destroying the IMF. 

Over the past 19 years Mission: Impossible movies have become synonymous with its star's fearless stunts. This new entry takes the best of all the "good" Mission: Impossible, blend them together as the formula of ingredients is familiar and time tested. This might actually be the best fifth instalment in a franchise, its only real competition is Fast Five - no The Empire Strikes Back doesn't count despite the fact that it is Star Wars: Episode V. Those films have remained Tom Cruise safe harbour, his teflon franchise. Ethan Hunt will always be embraced as a returning hero. You can shoot him, stab him, drown him, blow him up or pair him with the baddest of all; but you will never stop Ethan Hunt, because he is played by Tom Cruise. Make no mistake, even at 53, Tom Cruise is still Hollywood's hungriest leading man. In the previous chapter, 2011's Ghost Protocol, Cruise wowed audience by hanging from the side of the world's tallest skyscraper. Now in the latest sequel director's understood perfectly Cruise's signature and he wastes no time serving it up, opening the film with the guy himself sprinting and leaping onto the wing of a Russian cargo plane speeding down a runway.   

Cruise is - obviously - the definitive modern movie star. A charismatic force that can make the bad watchable and the average ultimately quite fun. Plus, he's very far from being a candidate for The Expendables series any time soon. Rebecca Ferguson is also great in this movie, she is the right balance between femininity and bad-assery. The light hearted tone of this movie is mostly due to and expanded role for the comic-relief maestro: Simon Pegg. This man is hilarious, he's a quite actor who - I believe - doesn't get much credit for his work. If you watch Shaun of the Dead, he has this comic aspect as well as a very good dramatic one. The villain is also good. He has motivation and you can really feel where he's coming from; still not an incredible villain but he's functional. 

Shockingly, the theme music is - after an initial blast - sabotaged. In fact, Rogue Nation might not be the tightest, or even, the most logically coherent Mission: Impossible movie but there should be more movies like this one: relentlessly thrilling. It recalls the first film a lot, coming back to that more tense, suspense oriented espionage; with a sharp script that springs a little surprise or two. It does more than just connect the dots between action set-pieces. The writers perfectly balanced the espionage devices with gadgets while having thrilling action sequences. The action is indeed amazing. That is the very heart of why you like action movies. This franchise is the few remaining series (along with 007) where globe trotting action is still appreciated. 

Action scenes are extremely well handed by Christopher McQuarrie, characters  are still very accessible, enjoyable and seeing them coming together again is very important as we can see that a lot happened to this team before. The film's most exciting sequence - a tussle between Hunt and three assassin sent to murder the Austrian Chancellor at the Vienna State Opera - is a beautifully managed action sequence. Unconventional and quite brave for a mainstream franchise picture. Yet, the motorcycle chase is one of the best I've seen for a long time in a movie. 

Overall, this movie is not so much about the outcome as it is the breathlessly thrilling journey Tom Cruise takes us on to get there.

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